Professor Spotlight: Dr. Hawkinson

Kaela Adams

Millikin University is well-known for their dedicated staff who work tirelessly for the success of their students. This year, Millikin added multiple individuals to the School of Music faculty, all of which are highly qualified and have tons to add to Millikin’s long-standing music reputation.

One of the new staff members, Dr. Ben Hawkinson, serves as an Assistant Professor of Music, conductor for two jazz groups, conductor for Collegiate Chorale, and a professor for classes in choral high school music education.

Collegiate Chorale is one of the auditioned mixed choral groups on campus.

Hawkinson also works with Blubop and OneVoice, two jazz groups. Blubop is a treble chorus jazz group while OneVoice is mixed.

Hawkinson works at Millikin with his wife Aubrey Hawkinson. Aubrey also works for the School of Music for Millikin. They have a one-year-old son named Liam, who is “the cutest kid you’ve ever seen.”

Hawkinson is highly-educated with a doctorate in choral conducting from Texas Tech University, a master’s in conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a bachelor’s in vocal music education from Arizona State University.

Hawkinson has been the keynote speaker for the Freedom Conference at Arizona State. He has also spoken at the Texas Choral Music Association in 2017 over performance practice in Renaissance and Baroque music.

He has sung all over the country with Westminster College, conducted at the San Antonio Conference, conducted Bachatattas 182 and 61, and performed with major orchestras on the East Coast.

Before his job at Millikin, he served as the Assistant Professor of Music at Woodyear College in California while also teaching many jazz and classical groups.

Hawkinson has had a lot of experience, and it is clear that he brings a lot to Millikin and their School of Music.

When asked what brought him to Millikin, he said, “Millikin has a great name. I’ve seen Millikin perform at many conferences and conventions. When I heard the position was open and I could possibly work with Brad and Elizabeth Holmes, I jumped at the position.”

Hawkinson loves teaching here.

“The students are fantastic,” Hawkinson said. “I love the honesty and kindness the students treat each other with. Great music happens on this campus.”

Hawkinson has so much to bring to Millikin. His goal for this year is to “make as much music as possible.” He wants to “do justice to the professors before him who spent so much time and effort creating the music program Millikin has today.”

I asked some students for their opinions on Hawkinson and if the transition of teachers has been hard. Junior Music Education major Lindsey Basil says, “Dr. Hawkinson is a very energetic and engaged teacher. I believe he is taking the responsibilities of his position very seriously by being committed and hard working.”

Basil thinks the transition of teachers was very smooth and they have a lot of similarities that make class very efficient.

Hawkinson is actually one of my professors as well. I am currently one of his Altos in the jazz group BluBop. Right off the bat, I noticed how intelligent and passionate he was in the field of music. He is very upbeat and brings a positive energy to every room he enters.

I think Hawkinson has so much to bring to Millikin and so much knowledge to share with the students here. I am very honored to have him as one of my professors.

To finish off this article I thought I’d end with a Lenard Bernstein quote, which happens to be Hawkinson’s favorite: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

Welcome to Millikin, Dr. Hawkinson.